Mahabharata Anusasana Parva - Translation by KM Ganguly

Mahabharata Adiparva

Section CIV

"Yudhishthira said, 'Man, it is said, is endued with a period of life extending for a hundred years, and with energy and might that are considerable. Why then, O grandsire, do human beings die even when they are very young? By what does a man become endued with longevity, and by what is his life shortened? Through what does a man acquire the fame that rests upon great achievements? Through what does one attain to wealth and prosperity? Is it by penances, or Brahmacharya, or silent recitation of sacred Mantras, or drugs? Is it by his acts, or speech? Do thou explain to me this, O grandsire!'

"Bhishma said, 'I shall tell thee what thou askest me. In fact, I shall tell thee what the reason is for which one becomes shortlived, and what the reason is for which one becomes endued with longevity. I shall also explain to thee the reason for which one succeeds in acquiring the fame that rests on great achievements, and the reason for which one succeeds in acquiring wealth and prosperity. Indeed, I shall enlighten thee as to the manner in which one must live in order to be endued with all that is beneficial for him. It is by conduct that one acquires longevity, and it is by conduct that one acquires wealth and prosperity. Indeed, it is by conduct that one acquires the fame that rests upon great achievements both here and hereafter. The man whose conduct is improper or wicked never acquires a long life. All creatures become afraid of such a man and are oppressed by him. If, therefore, one wishes one's own advancement and prosperity, one should, in this world, betake to conduct that is proper and good. Good conduct succeeds in dispelling the inauspiciousness and misery of even one that is sinful.  Righteousness has conduct for its indication. They that are good and righteous are so in consequence of the conduct they follow. The indications, again, of good conduct are afforded by the acts of those that are good or righteous. People esteem that man who acts righteously and who does good acts even if they only hear of him without actually seeing him. They that are atheists, they that are destitute of all acts, they that are disobedient to preceptors and transgress the injunctions of the scriptures, they that are unacquainted with and, therefore, unobservant of duties, and they that are wicked of conduct, become shortlived. They that are of improper behaviour, they that transgress all restraints, they that are unscrupulous in respect of sexual congress, become shortlived here and have to go to Hell hereafter. Even those men live for a hundred years who, though destitute of all accomplishments, betake themselves to propriety and righteousness of conduct and become endued with faith and freed from malice. He that is free from wrath, that is truthful in speech, that never does any injury to any creature in the universe, that is divested of malice and crookedness and insincerity, succeeds in living for a hundred years. He who always breaks little clods of earth, or tears up the grass that grows under his feet, or cuts off his nails with his teeth, or is always impure, or very restless, never succeeds in acquiring a long life.  One should wake up

from sleep at the hour known as the Brahma Muhurta and then think of both religion and profit. Getting up from bed, one should then wash one's face and mouth, and joining one's hands in an attitude of reverence, say the morning prayers.  In this way, one should when evening comes, say one's evening prayers also, restraining speech (with other people) the while. One should never look at the rising sun, nor at the setting sun.  Nor should one look at the sun when he is in eclipse; nor at his image in the water; nor at midday when he is at the meridian. The Rishis, in consequence of their adoring the two twilights with great regularity succeeded in attaining to longevity. Hence, one should, restraining speech, say one's prayers regularly at the two twilights. As regards those Brahmanas that do not say their prayers at the two twilights, a righteous king should set them to accomplish such acts as are ordained for the Sudras. Persons of every order should never have sexual congress with other people's wives. There is nothing that shortens life so effectually as sexual congress with other people's wives. For as many thousand years shall the adulterer have to live in Hell as the number of pores on the bodies of the women with whom he may commit the offence. One should dress one's hair, apply collyrium to one's eyes, and wash one's teeth, as also worship the deities, in the forenoon. One should not gaze at urine or faeces, or tread on it or touch it with one's feet. One should not set out on a journey at early dawn, or at midday, or in the evening twilight, or with a companion that is unknown, or with a Sudra, or alone. While going along a road, one should, standing aside, always make way to a Brahmana, to kine, to kings, to an old man, to one that is weighted with a burden, to a woman quick with child, or to one that is weak. When one meets a large tree that is known, one should walk round it. One should also, when coming upon a spot where four roads meet, walk round it before pursuing one's journey. At midday, or at midnight, or at night in general, or at the two twilights, one should not proceed to spots where four roads meet. One should never wear sandals or clothes that have been worn by another. One should always observe the vow of Brahmacharya, and should never cross one's legs. One should observe the vow of Brahmacharya on the day of the new moon, as also on that of the full moon, as also on the eighth lunar day of both fortnights. One should never eat the flesh of animals not slain in sacrifice. One should never eat the flesh of the back of an animal. One should avoid censuring and calumniating others, as also all kinds of deceitful behaviour.  One should never pierce others with wordy shafts. Indeed, one should never utter any cruel speech. One should never

accept a gift from a person that is low and vulgar. One should never jitter such words as trouble other people or as are inauspicious or are as' sinful. Wordy shafts fall from the mouth. Pierced therewith, the victim grieves day and night. The man of wisdom should never shot them for piercing the vitals of other people. A forest, pierced with shafts or cut down with the axe, grows again. The man, however, that is pierced with words unwisely spoken, becomes the victim of wounds that fester and lead to death.  Barbed arrows and Nalikas and broadheaded shafts are capable of being extracted from the body. Wordy shafts, however, are incapable of being extracted, for they lie embedded in the very heart. One should not taunt a person that is defective of a limb or that has a limb in excess, or one that is destitute of learning, or one that is miserable, or one that is ugly or poor, or one that is destitute of strength. One should avoid atheism, calumniating the Vedas, censuring the deities, malice, pride, arrogance, and harshness. One should not, in wrath, take up the rod of chastisement for laying it upon another. Only the son or the pupil, it has been said, can be mildly chastised for purposes of instruction. One should not speak ill of Brahmanas; nor should he point at the stars with one's fingers. If asked, one should not say what the lunation is on a particular day. By telling it, one's life becomes shortened. Having answered calls of nature or having walked over a road, one should wash one's feet. One should also wash one's feet before sitting to recite the Vedas or to eat any food. These are the three things which are regarded as pure and sacred by the deities and as such fit for the Brahmana's use, viz., that whose impurity is unknown, that which has been washed in water, and that which has been well-spoken of. Samyava, Krisara, meat, Sashakuli and Payasa should never be cooked for one's own self. Whenever cooked, these should be offered to the deities.  One should attend every day to one's fire. One should every day give alms. One should, restraining speech the while, clean one's teeth with the tooth-stick. One should never be in bed when the sun is up. If one fails any day to be up with the sun, one should then perform an expiation. Rising from bed, one should first salute one's parents, and preceptors, or other seniors deserving of respect. By so doing one attains to long life. The tooth-stick should be cast off when done with, and a new one should be used every day. One should eat only such food as is not forbidden in the scriptures, abstaining from food of every kind on days of the new moon and the full moon. One should, with senses restrained, answer calls of nature, facing the north. One should not worship the deities without having first washed one's teeth,

Without also worshipping the deities first, one should never repair to any person save one's preceptor or one that is old in years or one that is righteous or one that is possessed of wisdom. They that are wise should never see themselves in an unpolished or dirty mirror. One should never have sexual congress with a woman that is unknown or with one that is quick with child. One should never sleep with head turned towards the north or the west. One should not lie down upon a bed-stead that is broken or rickety. One should not sleep on a bed without having examined it first with the aid of a light. Nor should one sleep on a bed with another (such as wife) by one's side. One should never sleep in a transverse direction. One should never make a compact with atheists or do anything in conjunction with them.  One should never drag a seat with the foot and sit on it. One should never bathe in a state of nudity, nor at night. One possessed of intelligence should never suffer one's limbs to be rubbed or pressed after bathing. One should never smear unguents upon one's body without having first taken bath. Having bathed, one should never wave one's cloth in the air (for drying it). One should not always wear wet clothes. One should never take off one's body the garlands of flowers one may wear. Nor should one wear such garlands over one's outer garments. One should never even talk with a woman during the period of her functional change. One should not answer a call of nature on a field (where crops are grown) or at a place too near an inhabited village. One should never answer a call of nature on a water. One should first wash one's mouth thrice with water before eating any food. Having finished one's meals, one should wash one's mouth thrice with water and twice again. One should eat, with face turned eastwards, one's food, restraining speech the while and without censuring the food that is eaten. One should always leave a remnant of the food that is placed before one for eating. Having finished one's meals, one should mentally touch fire. If one eats with face turned eastwards, one becomes endued with longevity. By eating with face turned southwards, one acquires great fame. By eating with face turned westwards, one acquires great wealth. By eating with face turned northwards, one becomes truthful in speech. Having finished one's meals one should wash all the upper holes of one's body with water.  Similarly, all the limbs, the navel, and the palms of the hands should be washed with water. One should never seat oneself upon husk of corn, or upon hair, or upon ashes, or upon bones. One should, on no account, use the water that has been used by another for bathing. One should always perform the Homa for propitiating the deities, and recite the Savitri Mantra. One should always eat in a

seated posture. One should never eat while walking. One should never answer a call of nature in a standing posture. One should never answer a call of nature on ashes or in a cow-pen. One should wash one's feet before sitting to one's meals. One should never sit or lie down for sleep with wet feet. One who sits to one's meals after having washed one's feet, lives for a hundred years. One should never touch these three things of great energy, while one is in an impure state, viz., fire, a cow, and a Brahmana. By observing this rule, one acquires longevity. One should not, while one is in an impure state, cast one's eyes on these three things of great energy, viz., the sun, the moon, and the stars. The life-breaths of a young man go upwards when an old and venerable person comes to his abode. He gets them back by standing up and properly saluting the guest. Old men should always be saluted. One should, upon seeing them, offer seats with one's own hand. After the old man has taken his seat, one should seat oneself and remain with hands joined in reverence. When an old man goes along the road, one should always follow him instead of walking ahead. One should never sit on a torn or broken seat. One should, without using it any longer, cast away a broken vessel of white brass. One should never eat without a piece of upper garment wrapping one's body. One should never bathe in a state of nudity. One should never sleep in a state of nudity. One should never even touch the remnants of other people's dishes and plates. One should never, while one is in an impure state, touch another's head, for it is said in the scriptures that the life-breaths are all concentrated in the head. One should never strike another on the head or seize another by the hair. One should not join one's hands together for scratching one's head. One should not, while bathing, repeatedly dip one's head in water. By so doing one shortens one's life. One who has bathed by dipping the head in water should not, afterwards, apply oil to any part of one's body. One should never take a meal without eating some sesame. One should never teach (the Vedas or any scriptures) at a time when one is impure. Nor should one study while one is impure. When a storm rises or a bad odour permeates in the atmosphere, one should never think of the Vedas. Persons conversant with ancient history recite a Gatha sung by Yama in days of old. He that runs while impure or studies the Vedas under similar circumstances, indeed, that regenerate Brahman who studies the Vedas at forbidden times, loses his Vedas and shortens his life. Hence, one should never study the Vedas with concentrated attention at forbidden times. They who answer a call of nature, with face towards the sun, or towards a blazing fire, or towards a cow, or towards a regenerate person, or on the road, become shortlived. At daytime both calls of nature should be answered with face turned towards the north. At night, those calls should be answered facing the south. By so doing one does not shorten one's life. One that wishes to live long should never disregard or insult any of these three, however weak or emaciated they may appear to be, viz., the Brahmana, the Kshatriya, and the snake. All three are endued with virulent poison. The snake, if angry, burns the victim with only a glance of its eyes. The Kshatriya also, if angry, burns the objects of his wrath, as soon as he sees him, with his energy. The Brahmana, stronger than any of these two, destroys not only the objects of his wrath but his whole race as well, not by vision alone but by thought also.  The man of wisdom should, therefore, tend these three with care. One should, never engage in any disputation with one's preceptor. O Yudhishthira, if the preceptor becomes angry, he should always be pacified by due honours being paid to him. Even if the preceptor happens to be entirely wrong, one should still follow and honour him. Without doubt, calumnious sayings against the preceptor always consume the lives of those that utter them. One should always answer a call of nature at a spot far removed from one's habitation. One should wash one's feet at a distance from one's habitation. One should always throw the remnants of one's dishes and plates at a spot far removed from one's habitation. Verily, he who desires his own good should do all these. One should not wear garlands of red flowers. Indeed, they who are possessed of wisdom should wear garlands of flowers that are white in hue. Rejecting the lotus and the lily, O thou of great might, one may bear on one's head, however, a flower that is red, even if it be an aquatic one.  A garland of gold can under no circumstances become impure. After one has bathed, O king, one should use perfumes mixed with water.  One should never wear one's upper garment for covering the lower limbs or the lower garments for covering the upper ones. Nor should one wear clothes worn by another. One should not, again, wear a piece of cloth that has not its lateral fringes.  When one goes to bed, O king, one should wear a different piece of cloth. When making a journey also on a road, one should wear a different piece of cloth. So also, when worshipping the deities, one should wear a different piece of cloth.  The man of intelligence should smear his limbs with unguents made of Priyangu, sandalwood, Vilwa, Tagara, and Kesara.  In observing a fast, one should purify oneself

by a bath, and adorn one's person with ornaments and unguents. One should always abstain from sexual congress on days of the full moon and the new moon. One should never, O monarch, eat off the same plate with another even if that other happens to be of one's own or equal rank. Nor should one ever eat any food that has been prepared by a woman in her functional period. One should never eat any food or drink, any liquid whose essence has been taken off. Nor should one eat anything without giving a portion thereof to persons that wishfully gaze at the food that one happens to take. The man of intelligence should never sit close to one that is impure. Nor should one sit close to persons that are foremost in piety.  All food that is forbidden in ritual acts should never be taken even on other occasions. The fruits of the Ficus religiosa and the Ficus Bengalensis as also the leaves of the Crotolaria Juncea, and the fruits of the Ficus glomerata, should never be eaten by one who is desirous of his own good. The flesh of goats, of kine, and the peacock, should never be eaten. One should also abstain from dried flesh and all flesh that is stale. The man of intelligence should never eat any salt, taking it up with his hand. Nor should he eat curds and flour of fried barley at night. One should abstain also from flesh of animals not slain in sacrifices. One should, with concentrated attention, eat once on the morning and once in the evening, abstaining entirely from all food, during the interval. One should never eat any food in which one may detect a hair. Nor should one eat at the Sraddha of an enemy. One should eat silently; one should never eat without covering one's person with an upper garment, and without sitting down.  One should never eat any food placing it on the bare ground. One should never eat except in a sitting posture. One should never make any noise while eating.  The man of intelligence should first offer water and then food to one that has become his guest, and after having served the guest thus, should then sit to his meals himself. He who sits down to dinner in a line with friends and himself eats any food without giving thereof to his friends, is said to eat virulent poison. As regards water and Payasa and flour of fried barley and curds and ghee and honey, one should never, after drinking or eating these, offer the remnants thereof to others. One should never, O chief of men, eat any food doubtingly.  One desirous of food should never drink curds at the conclusion of a meal. After the meal is finished, one should wash one's mouth and face with the (right) hand only, and taking a little water should then dip the toe of the right foot in it. After washing, one should touch the crown of one's head with the (right) hand. With

concentrated attention, one should next touch fire. The man who knows how to observe all these ordinances with care, succeeds in attaining to the foremost place among his kinsmen. One should, after finishing one's meals, with one's nose and eyes and ears and navel and both hands wash with water. One should not, however, keep one's hands wet. Between the tip and the root of the thumb is situate the sacred Tirtha known by the name of Brahma. On the back of the little finger, it is said, is situate the Deva-tirtha. The intervening space between the thumb and the forefinger, O Bharata, should be used for discharging the Pitri rites, after touching water according to the ordinance.  One should never indulge in other people's calumny. Nor should one ever utter anything that is disagreeable. The man that desires his own good should never seek to provoke against himself the wrath of others. One should never seek to converse with a person that has fallen away from his order. The very sight of such a person should be avoided. One should never come in contact with a fallen person. By avoiding such contact one succeeds in attaining to a long life. One should never indulge in sexual congress at day-time. Nor should one have congress with a maiden, nor with a harlot nor with a barren woman. One should never have congress with a woman that has not bathed after the expiry of her functional period. By avoiding such acts one succeeds in attaining to a long life. After washing the several limbs directed, in view of religious acts, one should wash one's lips thrice, and once more twice. By doing this, one becomes purified and fit for religious acts. The several organs of sense should each be washed once, and water should also be sprinkled over the whole body. Having done this, one should go through the worship of the Pitris and the deities, agreeably with the ordinances of the Vedas. Listen to me, O thou of Kuru's race, as I tell thee what purification is cleansing and beneficial for a Brahmana. Before beginning to eat and after finishing the meal, and in all acts requiring purification, the Brahmana should perform the achamana with water placed on the limb called the Brahmatirtha.  After ejecting any matter from the throat or spitting, one should wash one's mouth before one can become pure. A kinsman who happens to be old, or a friend who happens to be poor, should be established in one's house and his comforts looked after as if he were a member of the family. By doing this, one succeeds in acquiring both fame and long life. The establishment of pigeons in one's house is fraught with blessedness, as also of parrots both male and female. If female these taken to one's abode, they succeed in dispelling calamity. The same is the case with cockroaches,

If fireflies and vultures and wood-pigeons and bees enter a house or seek residence in it, acts of propitiating the deities should be performed. These are creatures of evil omen, as also ospreys. One should never divulge the secrets of high-souled men; one should never have sexual congress with a forbidden woman. Nor should one ever have such congress with the spouse of a king or with women that are the friends of queens. One should never cultivate intimacy with physicians, or with children, or with persons that are old, or with one's servants, O Yudhishthira. One should always provide for friends, for Brahmanas, and for such as seek one's protection. By doing this, O king, one acquires a long life. The man of wisdom should reside in such a house as has been constructed with the aid of a Brahmana and an engineer skilled in his profession, if indeed, O king, he desires his own good.  One should not, O king, sleep at the evening twilight. Nor should one study at such an hour for acquiring any branch of knowledge. The man of intelligence should never eat also at such an hour. By acting in this way one acquires a long life. One should never perform any act in honour of the Pitris at night time. One should not deck one's person after finishing one's meals. One should bathe at night, if one desires one's own advancement. One should also, O Bharata, always abstain from the flour of fried barley at night. The remnants of food and drink, as also the flowers with which one has worshipped the deities, should never be used. Inviting a guest at night, one should never, with excessive courtesy, force him to eat to the point of gratification. Nor should one eat oneself to the point of gratification, at night. One should not slay a bird (for eating it), especially after having fed it.  One possessed of wisdom should wed a maiden born in a high family, endued with auspicious indications, and of full age. Begetting children upon her and thus perpetuating one's race by that means, one should make over one's sons to a good preceptor for acquiring general knowledge, O Bharata, as also a knowledge of the especial customs of the family, O monarch. The daughters that one may beget should be bestowed upon youths of respectable families, that are again possessed of intelligence. Sons should also be established and a portion of the family inheritance, given to them, O Bharata, as their provision. One should bathe by dipping one's head in water before one sits down to perform any act in honour of the Pitris of the deities. One should never perform a Sraddha under

the constellation of one's nativity. No Sraddha should be performed under any of the Bhadrapadas (prior or later), nor under the constellation Krittika, O Bharata. The Sraddha should never be performed under any of those constellations that are regarded as fierce (such as Aslesha, etc ) and any of those that, upon calculation, seem to be hostile. Indeed, in this respect, all these constellations should be avoided which are forbidden in treatises on astrology. One should sit facing either the east or the north while undergoing a shave at the hands of the barber. By so doing, O great king, one succeeds in acquiring a long life. One should never indulge in other people's calumny or self-reproach, for, O chief of the Bharatas, it is said that calumny is sinful, whether of others or of oneself. In wedding, one should avoid a woman that is deficient of any limb. A maiden too, if such, should also be avoided. A woman of the same Pravaras should also be avoided; as also one that has any malformation; as also one that has been born in the race to which one's mother belongs.  One possessed of wisdom should never have sexual congress with a woman that is old, or one that has abandoned the domestic mode of life for entering the forest mode, or one that is true to her lord, or one whose organs of generation are not healthy or well-formed.  It behoveth thee not to wed a woman that is of a yellow complexion, or one that is afflicted with leprosy, or one born in a family in which there has been epilepsy, or one that is low in birth and habits, or one that is born in a family in which the disease called Switra (leprosy) has appeared, or one belonging by birth to a race in which there are early deaths. Only that maiden who is endued with auspicious indications, and who is accomplished for qualifications of diverse kinds, who is agreeable and handsome, should be wedded. One should wed, O Yudhishthira, in a family that is higher or at least equal to one's own. One who is desirous of one's own prosperity, should never wed a woman that is of an inferior order or that has fallen away from the order of her birth. Carefully igniting the fire, one should accomplish all those acts which have been ordained and declared in the Vedas or by the Brahmanas.  One should never seek to injure women. Spouses should always be protected. Malice always shortens life. Hence, one should always abstain from cherishing malice. Sleep at day-time shortens life. To sleep after the sun has risen shortens life. They who sleep at any of the twilights, or at nightfall or who go to sleep in a state of impurity, have their lives shortened. Adultery always shortens life. One should not remain in a state of impurity after shaving.  One should, O Bharata, carefully abstain from studying or

reciting the Vedas, and eating, and bathing, at eventide. When the evening twilight comes, one should collect one's senses for meditation, without doing any act. One should, O king, bathe and then worship the Brahmanas. Indeed, one should bathe before worshipping the deities and reverentially saluting the preceptor. One should never go to a sacrifice unless invited. Indeed, one may go there without an invitation if one wishes only to see how the sacrifice is conducted. If one goes to a sacrifice (for any other purpose) without an invitation and if one does not, on that account, receive proper worship from the sacrificer, one's life becomes shortened. One should never go alone on a journey to foreign parts. Nor should one ever proceed alone to any place at night. Before evening comes, one should come back to one's house and remain within it. One should always obey the commands of one's mother and father and preceptor, without at all judging whether those commands are beneficial or otherwise. One should, O king, attend with great care to the Vedas and the science of arms. Do then, O king, carefully attend to the practice of riding an elephant, a steed, and a war-chariot. The man who attends to these with care succeeds in attaining to happiness. Such a king succeeds in becoming unconquerable by foes, and sway his servants and kinsmen without any of them being able to get the better of him. The king that attains to such a position and that carefully attends to the duty of protecting his subjects, has never to incur any loss. Thou shouldst acquire, O king, the science of reasoning, as also the science of words, the science of the Gandharvas, and the four and sixty branches of knowledge known by the name of Kala. One should every day hear the Puranas and the Itihasas and all the other narratives that exist, as also the life-stories of all high-souled personages. When one's spouse passes through functional period, one should never have congress with her, nor even summon her for conversation. The man endued with wisdom may accept her companionship on the fourth day after the bath of purification. If one indulges in congress on the fifth day from the first appearance of the functional operation, one gets a daughter. By indulging in congress on the sixth day, one happens to have a son. The man of wisdom should in the matter of congress, attend to this rule (about odd and even days). Kinsmen and relatives by marriage and friends should all be treated with respect. One should, according to the best of one's power, adore the deities in sacrifices, giving away diverse kinds of articles as sacrificial Dakshina. After the period ordained for the domestic mode of life has been passed, one should, O king, enter the life of a forest recluse. I have thus told thee all the indications, in brief, of persons who succeed in living long.  What remains untold by me should be heard by thee from the mouths of persons well-versed in the three Vedas, O Yudhishthira. Thou shouldst know that conduct is the root of prosperity. Conduct is the enhancer of fame. It is conduct that prolongs life. It is conduct that destroys all calamities and evils. Conduct has been said to be superior to all the branches of knowledge. It

is conduct that begets righteousness, and it is righteousness that prolongs life. Conduct is productive of fame, of long life, and of heaven. Conduct is the most efficacious rite of propitiating the deities (for bringing about auspiciousness of every kind). The Self-born Brahman himself has said that one should show compassion unto all orders of men.'"